It’s Getting A Little Deep At The UN These Days

WSJ.com – Dictatorships and Double Standards
We have the likes of Syria arguing for democracy in Iraq by December 15th. Fine, take them at their word and expel each member that’s not a democracy that respects individual rights by December 15th.

The Economist describes the problem with the UN, all the while defending it, thusly:

First, they are subject to no higher authority—no Supreme Court, for instance—than those who make them. Second, those who make them are not democratically appointed. They are therefore particularly vulnerable to the charge of dubious legitimacy.

That, of course, is a consequence of the nature of the institution, which tries to marry legitimacy with realpolitik.

The legitimacy of the UN is supposedly derived by inclusion — all states are members — yet principle, i.e. liberal democracy, is cast aside to confer this legitimacy.

Reform of the UN is long overdue. Membership criteria would be a good starting point.

Is there something in the East River water? We ask this as we watch the latest goings on at the United Nations, where Security Council delegates and Secretary General Kofi Annan have become sudden champions of Iraqi democracy. They are even insisting that any Iraq reconstruction resolution contain a definite plan for Iraqi self-rule.

The latest U.S. proposal is for a December 15 deadline for Iraq’s Governing Council to report to the U.N. with a non-binding timetable for the transition. Security Council members called the move a step in the right direction, while Mr. Annan acknowledged “it does take into account some of my preoccupations.” But nearly all agreed, in the words of China’s U.N. ambassador, that more changes would be needed to ensure “an early return of sovereignty to the Iraqi people.”

Well, all right, let’s suspend disbelief for a minute and take them at their word. By all means let’s have a December 15 deadline for an Iraqi democracy timetable. But in the spirit of consistency, let’s also require the same deadline for a democracy transition plan from every other U.N. state, in particular those highly principled Security Council members China, Syria, Pakistan, Guinea and Cameroon. We can then move on to Cuba, Vietnam, Libya, Sudan, Egypt, North Korea . . .

Don’t hold your breath waiting North Korea’s transition to democracy, much less liberal democracy.

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